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Monday, October 25, 2010

But aren't those seed heads pretty?

Back behind the compost bins, I discovered fall color in the seed heads of Chenopodium album.  

I am a lazy gardener for not pulling out these plants months ago before they even got close to setting seed. After all, this is the very common weed, lamb's quarters.

I'd better hurry and pull them out now, though, before someone accuses me of being a softy when it comes to weeds in the garden.

But aren't those seed heads pretty?

I'll get to them tonight, or maybe tomorrow for sure. We'll see.

In the meantime, it is possible that any number of critters, including chipmunks, squirrels, meadow voles and birds, all of which I have seen in and around the garden, will have a chance to eat these seeds.

Then they'll do the seeds a favor by passing them through their digestive systems and out onto the ground where the seeds can germinate next spring and become new weeds for me to pull.

It's a vicious cycle.

But aren't those seed heads pretty?

In some areas of the world, gardeners and farmers grow lamb's quarters on purpose and eat the young leaves. You can actually buy seeds for Chenopodium album to plant in your vegetable garden!  No doubt the seeds are for varieties that are improvements over the basic weed.

Apparently, the young leaves can be used like young spinach leaves. But I am taking the same stance on this weed as I do on that fat, greasy weed, purlsane. I don't plan to eat either one any time soon. Someone else can try lamb's quarters and tell me how it tastes.

But aren't those seed heads pretty?

And another interesting tidbit about Chenopodium album. This weed isn't even a native plant here in North America. That's a bit surprising, given how common it is, but plants have their ways, and they do manage to get around the globe by various means, including sometimes tricking people into transporting them.

Who knows, maybe early immigrants brought seeds for lamb's quarters with them from the far flung corners of the words because...

Aren't those seed heads pretty?


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Don't forget to comment on Friday's post to enter to win a copy of the new book, Bizarre Botanicals. Deadline is Monday, October 25th, 9:00 pm EDT.

10 comments:

Bom said...

The weeds over here certainly don't look like that. In face I don't think I've ever seen weeds with that color. Thanks for the information.r

Gail said...

Yes seedheads of many weeds are pretty, except~Ragweed. Not pretty at all, ever! gail

Commonweeder said...

I've been seduced by pretty weeds. Bedstraw, galium, which looks so pretty coming up through the roses is now around the roots of nearly everything, and is threatening hayfields.

Rose said...

Since we have a multitude of weeds growing out in the "back forty," I've noticed, too, how many of them do have some pretty blooms and attractive seedheads, Carol. I've discovered that some people actually grow persicaria, aka "smartweed," in their gardens--and here I have all I want for free!:) But I'm with Gail--I can't see much of anything positive about ragweed.

Meredehuit ♥ said...

A weed seed by any other name would smell as sweet... :)

400calendulas said...

The weeds Imost dislike is a fairly common one here in Iddaho, the hairy willow herb. What annoys me most is that it looks so pretty coming up, almost like a superior strain of mint, especially if it is growing in good soil. It produces a tiny flower that goes almost within hours to a large seedhead that throws seeds most spectaularly.In my weeding service I have had to argue with customers to get them to let me pull it because it looks as if it might be a pretty wildflower.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

Yes, the seed heads are very pretty. Just ask any number of birds and ground or tree varmints.

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

They are pretty. I never noticed them in my garden before. I've eaten Lamb's Quarter. You aren't missing anything. Get that sucker pulled up quick.~~Dee

Kate (daisygil_io) said...

I'm actually a big fan of all types of seed heads - weed or not. So, yes, I do think your seed heads are very pretty indeed. ;)

hawknitr13 said...

hi! i just read a tutorial recently on preparing/eating dandelion leaves!! interesting! i know wine is made from dandelion blooms...i tried it yrs ago! not too bad! but, i'm with you...i'll pass on eating weeds!!! ^)^linda